Two years of planning and dreaming have led to the design of a new, dynamic schoolyard concept for Eagle Crest Elementary.

Taking into account many different outdoor features that our students, teachers and entire community can use, the focus has been to design a space that helps foster community, outdoor education and free play experiences for our children. Preliminary plans include a large shade-structure area with seating and gardens, usable play spaces with climbing and balance features, and a natural walking path that includes adaptable options for future STEM learning opportunities. Plans also include buddy benches and student gathering spaces in conjunction with additional shade trees and water conserving natural features.

Design Process

The design process began with an all-school late-start project where each student drew their design of the schoolyard. The next step was to create a Youth Task Force. A group of students from all grades took all the designs and came up with the top 5 ideas for the schoolyard. This was led by Mrs. Dudley, Mrs. Potter and Mrs. Schwirtz. All elements, and their placement, have been chosen by our very own students.

Once a concept plan was drawn, it was presented to the community for feedback at the Spring Fling in May of 2018.

Design Features

depending on how much money we raise, the new schoolyard may include:

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  • Nature-themed play elements

  • An outdoor classroom

  • A labyrinth for mindfulness play

  • Native landscaping zones

  • Free-play areas

  • Shade trees and a shade structure

  • A climbing dome

  • Spinners

  • Natural boulders and play logs

  • Learning gardens, including veggie beds and a monarch garden

  • Dynamic movement areas

  • Educational elements

  • Climbing and balance features

  • A walking path and future STEM route

  • Outside gathering spaces, a buddy bench and boulder seating

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Project Timeline

Following our effort to raise the necessary funds for completion of the schoolyard improvement plan, we will be finalizing the design and beginning construction. Our goal is to complete the project before the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

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The Dream… and the dreamers

Two years ago, Eagle Crest parent Kristin Wachtel was vacationing in Santa Fe when she began thinking about how dramatically kids’ experiences can be improved by thoughtful outdoor spaces.  When she returned home, Kristin put her own landscape design experience to use and started to plan practical improvements that could be made to Eagle Crest’s own play yard. Her thinking led her to pair with a number of other Eagle Crest parents who shared this same interest, and together they pursued various grant opportunities that would fund their vision to elevate Eagle Crest’s backyard.  In working alongside Eagle Crest's students, staff members, and parents who provided design input throughout the process, they created plans for putting their vision into action, and now it’s up to the greater school community to help partially fund these school yard improvements.